The Isaacs bring unique sound to the Roaring Fork Valley |

The Isaacs bring unique sound to the Roaring Fork Valley

Stina Sieg
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” To Lily Isaacs, a pretty song is just a pretty song.

“But when it’s touched the Holy Spirit,” she said, “it’s something you don’t forget.”

For decades, that’s what she’s tried to give people.

A professional singer since the early 1970s, Isaacs is the matriarch of the Christian, country and bluegrass family band, The Isaacs. Since its beginning, the group’s musical roster has ebbed and flowed, gaining members like Isaacs’ children and losing ones like Isaacs’ ex-husband, Joe, who left after their divorce in the late 1990s. The entire time, however, the intention of the music hasn’t changed. Over the years, the group has sustained itself, amassing fans from all different generations, as well.

“I think that’s because we really minister,” explained Isaacs. “We reach out to people in more than just a musical way. We try to touch the heart.”

That’s the kind of thing that simply doesn’t go out of style.

Tonight’s Glenwood performance is just one of the 180 or so hey do every year. To top that, they usually manage to record a new album in the same time-frame. Recently having returned from Norway, they’ve been to Europe twice. In a matter of months, they’ll be in Ireland. It wasn’t too long ago they were in South Africa, where, to Isaacs’ shock, the audience chanted her and each of the other band members’ names.

The Isaacs are real Christian believers, for sure, but even a more secular person can hear why their work gets to people. The group has this sort of fun, down-home twang that’s comforting, but their songs can also speak of lonesomeness and despair. Sometimes, when their lyrics veer into heartache, their voices, especially Sonya’s (Isaacs’ daughter), can be shiver-inducing.

Filling out the sound is Sonya’s mandolin, and Isaacs’ other children, Ben and Rebecca on upright bass and guitar, respectively. Non-family members include Jesse Stockman on fiddle, Troy Engle on banjo and Nathan Fauscett on drums. Blended together, it all really works ” and it has to. This is all she wants to do.

This is only the job she’s had for years, and it’s the only life her kids have ever known.

The amazing quality of that feat is lost on Isaacs, either.

A Christian convert, she was born to Jewish parents who survived the Holocaust. Joe, who she began the band with, came from an impoverished family of 17 children. The leap they had they to make to create such a popular, beloved group is almost unimaginable. While some people might look at Isaacs’ story and see luck or just a lot of hard work, she’s singing a different tune. For her, this has got to be a God thing.

Post Independent Glenwood Springs CO Colorado

“It’s just mind-boggling to me, which makes me know there was certainly a higher power in charge,” she said. “Because we could not have done it on our own.”

How appropriate it is then that the real reason her family stays in the music business isn’t truly about them. Sure, they love singing and playing, but more than that, they love moving people. Isaacs has had fans come up to her after shows and tell her how much the music meant to them. She’s gotten e-mails and letters spelling out the same feelings. She can see, she can feel, that her work matters.

“It’s makes you know you’re doing the right thing,” she said.

That’s why, even though there are days she gets tired, she went on, she never gets tired of what she’s doing.

These aren’t just pretty little songs, after all.

Contact Stina Sieg: 384-9111

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